Dressage (a French term meaning "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet." Although the discipline has its roots in classical Greek horsemanship, mainly through the influence of Xenophon, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit during the Renaissance in Western Europe. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then and classical dressage is still considered the basis of trained modern dressage.

Early European aristocrats displayed their horses' training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests," or prescribed series of movements within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten - zero being "not executed" and ten being "excellent." A score of nine (or "very good") is considered a particularly high mark, while a competitor achieving all sixes (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


A big day for Pikksie Wish! PW has been getting more and more confident with a rider. We have had one bad day so far...........when she became confused about stopping and going...... however I realize that it was a miscommunication between my handler and myself about where our circle was going and it all seems perfect again!
She is getting more fluent with cantering both directions and.............yesterday we cantered off the lunge line for the first time. Today will be our last ride in the indoor as next week we will move to Florida and then we will be outside everyday. I am very pleased with her progress and her wonderful balance. As a mare every once in a while she has something to say about how things should be done, but her mind is quickly changed when we stay on our path and she is eager to do things right.

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